Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Notes on the rubrics for Lent, Part I - Ash Wednesday to Passion Sunday

During Lent the liturgy becomes much more elaborate, and the Office reflects that. 

In particular, there are specific readings set for each day of the week at (EF) Mass.  So at Matins the readings are general patristic commentaries on the Gospel for the day, and the canticle antiphons also generally pick up the key messages from the Gospel.

Lent in the Benedictine Office actually encompasses a number of quite diverse sets of rubrics:
  • Ash Wednesday to first Vespers of the First Sunday of Lent, when the Office basically stays as if it were still Septuagesimatide;
  • First Sunday of Lent up until first Vespers of First Passion Sunday - the rubrics of Lent;
  • Passiontide (First Passion Sunday to Palm Sunday); and
  • Holy Week (up until the Easter Vigil). 
Note that psalms used do not change - they are the same throughout the year, except on major feasts at Lauds and Vespers and a few other very limited exceptions such as the Sacred Triduum.  It is, however, particularly appropriate to use the ferial canticle at Lauds during the penitential season.

The notes here cover the first two of these parts of Lent.

Ash Wednesday to the First Sunday of Lent

This period was something of a later add-on to Lent to make up the correct number of days (given that Sundays are not counted for fasting and other purposes, although in reality we still don't quite make it to forty days, due to the several first class feasts that normally intervene).  The liturgy does intensify, with canticle antiphons for both Lauds and Vespers, but the rest of the Office at Lauds to Vespers remains that of  'throughout the year'.

First Sunday to (First) Passion Sunday

The Ordinary of the ferial Office in Lent is set out in the Farnborough edition of the Monastic Diurnal at MD 190*ff.

For those saying Matins (not in the Diurnal):
  • the invitatory antiphon on weekdays is the same as throughout the year;
  • the hymn is for the season of Lent and is the same each day (Ex more);
  • the readings during the week are usually patristic, relating to the Gospel of the Mass set for that day;
  • the chapter verse for Nocturn II is for the season (Is 1:16-18).
At Lauds and Vespers:
  • chapters, hymns, etc of the season replace those in the psalter section;
  • the canticle antiphons are proper for each day.
Each day there are two sets of collects: the first for use from Matins to None; the second for Vespers.

It is also important to be aware that when a feast displaces the Lent texts, a commemoration of the day is made at both Lauds and Vespers using the respective collects, canticle antiphon and versicle that occurs before the relevant canticle at that hour.

1 comment:

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